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The sneakers' process of renovation

The new golden age of Nike Air Force 1 compared to another famous comeback

The sneakers' process of renovation The new golden age of Nike Air Force 1 compared to another famous comeback

The new golden age of Nike  Air Force 1 compared to another famous comeback 2014 was the year of the great adidas  Stan Smith comeback.

The iconic tennis silhouette was discontinued in 2011 and had been kept out of the market for three years before the return. adidas took its time to plan a return in great style and so it was. To relaunch the sneakers and be sure to revamp the shoe reputation to the public, adidas made huge efforts. 

First, they organized exclusive parties all over the world, featuring the most popular celebrities at the time all of them wearing Stan Smith, of course. Someone will remember Kanye West attending to the Stan Smith party in Paris.

adidas focused on fashion and lifestyle press to ensure this return to be perceived as something cool and capable to generate an allure of exclusivity around it. This was also meant to bring a younger and more fashion-sensitive audience to the classic silhouette turning it once again into a cult. Of course adidas didn't forget about the former Stan Smith lovers and the tone of its advertisements were all focused on the sneaker history. A mass distribution of the shoe followed, so anyone could be able to find their pair almost anywhere.

To keep the attention alive adidas also started a long series of collaborations from  colette store, to mastermind JAPAN, to Opening Ceremony to the most renowned Raf Simons collab. Later even artists like Pharrell Williams and Rita Ora were involved. Stan Smith relaunch was indubitably innovative at the time and an undiscussable success, yet today all this sound quite standard and only three years have passed. 

It's easy to make a comparison with the most up to date ways to push a classic silhouette and reflect on how much the industry moves fast today. Nike indeed is now trying a "silent" revamp on their Air Force 1 and they are using some quite unusual, yet for-now-effective strategies to bring the classics back to hype. The first huge difference is that the AF1 relaunch is silent. The shoe was never discontinued, there was no announcement of a great return, no official parties, no celebrity endorsements, no official communication clearly admitting that Nike is trying to revamp Air Force 1.

All the classic steps have been intentionally skipped. Now is the era of subliminal communication. Every move has been made without putting an accent on the shoe itself. Getting more specific, Nike made some really smart moves. First of all they involved Air Force1 in one of the most limited and hyped collaborations in recent times. The AF1 x V-Lone are the perfect example of a single collab capable to draw the attention of a large fashion oriented crowd on the iconic silhouette and also to make it interesting again for a larger audience, as a direct consequence. The cool kids do, everyone else follows.

Then Nike launched the SF-AF 1 series, pushing on the combat boots trend. The Special Forces AF1 initially came out as something sporadic and limited; then slowly, colorway after colorway, they became a proper searies with quite a big distribution and a huge success. Then Nike decided to take advantage on another massive trend of these days: customs. The AF1 indeed is one of the most customizable sneakers, especially in its classic white colorway.

So Nike started promoting customization and recently together with Virgil Abloh they managed to organize a series of sneaker customization workshops, the infamous Nike Off-Campus, all over the world. Of course it was no coincidence that the absolute protagonist of Off-Campus workshops was indeed the AF1. The iconic sneakers was obviously included in the official collaborative capsule between Nike and Virgil Abloh's brand Off White called "The Ten". The operation of revamping AF1 is still on the ride, but for now it proved to be more than just effective. Streetwear influencers and relevant instagrammers from all over the world started 
rocking AF1 again and the sneakers are getting a massive traction online. This is the definitive prove that the way to make a product cool has completely changed over the years.

Now everything must be quiet and overly-calculated, people must not perceive that the brand is trying to deliberately sell them a product. Instead they have to slowly start thinking that the product is cool by collateral influences. Nike most likely just wrote a brand new chapter of sneakers marketing.